Posts tagged Legal lynching

Legal Lynching (cont’d)

From Balko:

Texas death row inmate Hank Skinner is set to be executed on November 9.

. . . Skinner (who has already come within an hour of execution) is about to be executed despite the fact that there is testable DNA from the murder weapon, the rape kit, hairs one of the victims was found clutching, and a jacket left at the crime scene similar to one worn by another possible suspect, all of which has yet to be tested.

And it’s even worse than that. The state started testing on the hairs a decade ago. When preliminary mitochondrial testing came back negative as a match to either Skinner or the victim, the state just decided to stop further testing.

It’s one thing to consider all of the evidence, find it unconvincing, and then proceed with an execution despite strong disagreement from the suspect’s supporters. It’s a whole other level of moral culpability to deliberately remain ignorant about evidence that could definitively establish guilt or innocence.

The testing will at most cost a few thousand dollars. Skinner’s attorneys and a lab and Arizona have already agreed to cover that cost. It would take no longer than a few months. . . . I have no idea if Hank Skinner is guilty. Neither does the state of Texas. The difference is that I and anyone with a lick of conscience would prefer we find out before the man is put to death.

— Radley Balko, Hank Skinner execution date less than a month away, ub The Agitator (2011-10-10)

But of course the State has no conscience; it only has a Process, and that Process has been followed as long as the State’s henchmen can remain officially ignorant of exculpatory evidence. All of which is to say, a sad and dangerous gang of men — law-makers, prosecutors, judges, prison-guards and executioners — have shoved their conscience and their intelligence out of the way, and filled up the empty space with the excuses of legality and the ceremoniously-safeguarded ignorance of the state’s Criminal Justice System. In reality they are nothing more than a lynch mob in badges, suits, uniforms and black robes.

See also.

Legal lynching.

R.I.P. Troy Anthony Davis (Oct. 9, 1968 – Sep. 21, 2011)

Troy Davis executed. ABC World News (21 September 2011).

Troy Davis was executed this evening after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-minute stay of execution.

Davis died at 11:08 p.m. ET, according to a Georgia Department of Corrections official.

Eyewitnesses described the mood in the execution chamber as “somber” as Davis declared his innocence a final time and relatives of his alleged murder victim looked on.

The execution was delayed more than four hours as the U.S. Supreme Court weighed last-minute arguments from Davis’ legal team and the state of Georgia over whether his execution should be blocked.

The court’s decision to deny the stay came without comment after 10 p.m. ET.

. . . Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah, Ga., policeman Mark MacPhail, and had his execution stayed four times over the course of his 22 years on death row, but multiple legal appeals during that time failed to prove his innocence.

Public support grew for Davis based on the recanted testimony of seven witnesses from his trial and the possible confession of another suspect, which his defense team claimed cast too much doubt on Davis’ guilt to follow through with an execution.

Several witnesses recanted their testimony that Davis fired the shot that killed MacPhail.

Troy Davis was innocent and this was a premeditated murder by the State of Georgia — nothing more and nothing less than a torturous, slow-motion legal lynching. The courts, the governors, and the parole boards knew that there was every reason to doubt his guilt, but they don’t give a damn, because each court formally refused to listen to or consider any substantive new evidence — like the fact that there was no physical evidence to connect Davis to the murder, and more than half the witnesses admitted that they lied on the stand (under intense pressure from Georgia police) during the original trial. Be that as it may the sentence had been passed and the paperwork filed and you can hardly stop to consider substantive evidence of innocence once the procedural question of his trial has been sealed under the authority of the State. You can’t stop the machine of governmental justice from grinding for something so paltry as an innocent man’s life; there’s a principle involved.

And the principle is power. The power of death. That is the Majesty of the Law; that is its morality; that is its justice.

See also

Legal lynching (cont’d)

    <p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/03/29/supreme-court-firms-up-state-i">Supreme Court Firms Up State Immunity From Wrongful Conviction Lawsuits. <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-04-25)</a>:</p><blockquote><q>By a ideologically right-left, 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today (PDF) that a wrongly convicted Louisiana man—who at one point was just weeks away from execution—isn't permitted to sue the DA's office that for 14 years sat on the evidence proving his innocence. Jacob Sullum wrote about Connick...</q></blockquote>

We need government courts instead of private protection and arbitration because private protection associations would be accountable to the rich and powerful instead of being accountable to the people.

Friday Lazy Linking

    <ul>
<li><p><a href="http://marjaerwin.livejournal.com/25556.html">Of course we shouldn't give more power to Google. <cite>Marja Erwin</cite> (2011-02-16)</a>. <q>http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/02/16/new_book_explains_how_google_has_taken_over_knowledge_and_learning... but how would it be any saner to give that power to government-run replacements, who would use that power to control our access to knowledge, who would use that to share their news and suppress opposing news, and who would have a chilling effect on what people are willing...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-02-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://libertarian-labyrinth.blogspot.com/2011/02/pre-pub-price-for-ak-press-proudhon.html">Pre-pub price for AK Press Proudhon anthology. Shawn P. Wilbur, <cite>Two-Gun Mutualism &amp; the Golden Rule</cite> (2011-02-14)</a>. <q>AK Press has posted an attractive sale price for the Proudhon anthology, Property is Theft!, which ought to be available any day now. There are other sale prices out there, but none that give you a good deal and also put the revenue in the hands of the radical business...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-02-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://catandgirl.com/?p=2836">Adventure Travel. Dorothy, <cite>Cat and Girl</cite> (2011-02-14)</a>.  <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-02-17.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://flipfloppingjoy.com/2011/02/14/as-you-read-about-the-trail-of-brisenia-floress-murderers/">as you read about the trail of Brisenia Flores’s murderers… bfp, <cite>flip flopping joy</cite> (2011-02-14)</a>. <q>Please note how rarely MSM is calling her murderers white supremacists and how rarely the organization they are a part of is called a hate group. Notice how key phrases like “hotly contested issue” keep coming up as code words for “white supremacist violence.” Notice how the Minutemen are never...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-02-17.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2011/02/joseph-and-the-appalling-tyrannical-despot.html">Joseph and the Appalling Tyrannical Despot. Slacktivist, <cite>slacktivist</cite> (2011-02-12)</a>. <q>Since it's in the news, I thought we might revisit a story about Egypt -- a story from long, long ago, from the book of Genesis. It's a story that I've long found confusing and disturbing. The book of Genesis, as its name suggests, is a collection of origin stories....</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-02-17.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/17/better-that-84000-be-libeled-t">Better That 84,000 Be Libeled Than 10 Go Free. Radley Balko, <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-02-17)</a>. <q>Last weekend, visitors to some 84,000 websites, mostly personal and small business sites, saw this pop up on their screens: The domain seizures were part of &quot;Operation Save Our Children,&quot; which according to a Department of Homeland Security press release, nabbed 10 websites that were distributing child pornography. The problem...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-02-18.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/11/i-believe-the-germans-have-a-w">I Believe the Germans Have a Word for This. Radley Balko, <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-02-11)</a>. <q>Incumbent food truck magnate in Austin develops totally-civic-minded-and-not-at-all-protectionist &quot;health, safety and environmental concerns&quot; over a massive increase in the number trucks that have sprung up to compete with him . . .   . . . demands city council pass stricter regulations of his own industry . . .   . . ....</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-02-18.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/16/how-hard-is-it-to-fire-a-polic">How Hard Is It To Fire a Police Officer? Radley Balko, <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-02-16)</a>. <q>According to the Orlandon Sentinel, Davie, Florida police officer Kevin Kilpatrick has been on paid leave for seven years. During that time, he has received full pay and benefits, plus annual raises. He has collected more than a half million dollars for doing nothing. The department has twice tried to...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-02-18.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/archives/2011/02/14/sticklers-for-procedure">Sticklers for Procedure. <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-02-18)</a>. Legal lynching. (Cont'd) <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-02-18.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/08/welcome-to-the-era-of-belt-tig">Welcome to the Era of Belt-Tightening. Radley Balko, <cite>Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-02-08)</a>. <q>The U.S. Navy spent $450,000 to send four F-18 fighter jets from Virginia for a spectacular flyover before Sunday&#39;s Super Bowl. Or we&#39;ll just have to assume it was spectacular. It wasn&#39;t televised. And the stadium roof was closed. But I bet it sounded cool. CORRECTION: My mistake. The flyover was...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-02-18.)</em></p></li>